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"Kermit on set!!! Kermit on set!"
When Sharknado 4 director Anthony Ferrante yelled into a walkie-talkie carried by the wardrobe assistant, I almost forgot who Kermit was for a second. Surely, Kermit was an A-list movie star or a reality TV veteran. Maybe Kermit was a Real Housewife or a server from Vanderpump Rules. We were on the set of Sharknado 4, after all. But no, Anthony Ferrante was speaking about my six-pound, five-ounce Kermit, my best friend of 12 years.
Kermit was outfitted in her usual pink-and-blue-striped vest (harness, for you dog owners out there) and a brand new blue-jean tie designed by comedian Tommy Davidson. She did not need hair or makeup. We shared a trailer with writer/comedian Benjy Bronk, who was nice enough to beg the producers to put both myself and Kermit in the movie. It's all in who you know, Kermit learned.
On the day we were scheduled to film, a van came and picked us up to bring us to the set. I saw huge fans blowing where Kermit was supposed to stand. I was nervous. Would she get nervous, maybe blow away? Ian Ziering gave us a friendly hello, and after I put Kermit in her spot, he yelled out, "Will someone take that dog away?!"
"She's in the scene," an assistant director said, surprising Ian and the rest of the cast. This was a last minute add-in. They had written in the scene for Kermit just 24 hours before. Kermit did not care about any of these details. She had a huge, violently spinning fan to deal with, and possibly sharks.
Hundreds of extras were running around, inches from Kermit. I have to admit, it was scary. I wondered if I'd made a mistake and was putting my dog through unnecessary stress. But, just like that, one of the actors picked up Kermit, saved her from sharks, and handed her to me. Thank God. I spent most of our day on set feeling nervous, watching different actors running with my poor Kermit in their arms. She handled it so well: not a peep, not a snarl, not a bark.
Now that the movie has been released, she continues to handle herself well. Fame has not gone to her head. She acts exactly the same as before she was a movie star and isn't at all preoccupied with awards-season nominations. She's been waiting for this big break, you see, because a few years ago, I decided I wanted Kermit to be famous. I didn't know how or when, but I wanted it to happen. I wanted people to see how great she is. Dogs don't live as long as humans live, and I wanted her legacy to last forever.
I think most dog owners understand this feeling. Kermit is now 12 years old, which is old, even for a small dog. Every time we go on walks, I get a question from someone about her age. I used to lie about it. She looks and acts like a puppy, and I guess a part of me really wants to believe that she'll live forever. Now, though, when people ask me how old Kermit is, I tell the truth. She's 12. (I've decided she's living until 24.) I carry her in a stroller when she gets tired or hot. I feed her the best food, and she sleeps with me in bed every night. I want her with me all the time. I work from home so I don't have to be away from her for too long. When I go to the grocery store or to meet a friend, she comes along too. Am I obsessive about her?
Kermit is the greatest decision I've ever made. She's been with me for amazing times, terrible times, and friendships and boyfriends that have come and gone. I've cried on her fur, danced with her at Lincoln Center, and taken her to restaurants as my date, and I'm writing this piece with her here right now. I want to make sure her whole life is incredible, and I know it's up to only me to do that.
Usually in life, they say you meet one special person, a soul mate, someone you will spend your life with. You'll marry that person, have kids maybe, and settle down. You'll grow old with them. You'll have monogrammed towels in the bathroom, matching robes, and fine china. That has never been me.
I'm still figuring out what I want in life. But when I got cut from the movie (you can only see the back of my head), I felt nothing but extreme happiness for Kermit and the recognition she received. She is truly the love of my life.
Elisa + Kermit, forever.